Go inside the British Museum with Google

Closeup of an Egyptian Sarcophegus, British Museum, London

Closeup of an Egyptian Sarcophegus, British Museum, London

Google has done it again. They’ve sent the Google camera inside the British Museum and now you can use the Street View feature in Google Maps to visit the museum without leaving your house. It’s pretty cool, too. You can “walk” through the rooms or jump from floor to floor.  I think it would help if you had a map from the British Museum’s website, though. You can drop the little gold “man” onto a place on the museum map and there’s a series of numbers on your right that says what level you are on. If you click a different level, you find your self in a different room or gallery but you might also find yourself in a hallway or in a staircase, in which case, that map might prove useful.

Google map of the British Museum, London

Google map of the British Museum, London

It’s also possible to read a lot of the large information signs on the walls by the various displays. I think this is a great thing. I hope a lot of the major museums and sites in the world will be mapped out like this. They’ve done Machu Picchu as well. I think a site like Pompeii would be another good one to do with Street View and please, Google, do some more of the major museums and galleries in the world like the Smithsonian, the Vatican, and the Louvre.

This first photo is a screen grab from Google Street view of the Egyptian gallery with the mummies and sarcophegi. Below that are a few photos I’ve taken in the museum on visits in the past. (The photo at the top of this post is also mine, a closup of one of a sarcophegus)

British Museum Egyptian Mummies, London

British Museum Egyptian Mummies, London

Neried Monument, British Museum, London

Neried Monument, British Museum, London

Greek Helmet, British Museum, London

Greek Helmet, British Museum, London

Travel Theme: Grey

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is “Grey”.

Skies are often grey and foggy when we travel, but also here at home where Halifax often has fog rolling in from the Atlantic.

Foggy view of Halifax Harbour from the MacKay bridge

Aside from the often grey-skies we seem to encounter when I travel, the other “grey” that seems to stand out is sculpture and statues.

Wall frieze in Chatsworth House, UK

And finally, one of my favourite things, classic cars. This collection of grey/silver ones are classic British cars.

Classic British cars

 

A Word a Week – Mural

While some people think graffiti is defacing a surface, and it certainly can be if it’s just random and pointless, others thing of it as a work of art and it certainly can be that as well. Graffiti is a way of expressing, usually, discontent with political slogans and warnings, territorial markings. Murals on public surfaces could be classed as graffiti but it’s also beautiful public art, street art as a rule. Some public murals are even commissioned. Some people do it to brighten up the neighbourhood, some to reflect the neighbourhood. Here’s a few I’ve seen on my travels:

First, two from London

Seen on Tottenham Court Road, London

Seen in SoHo, London

Two from Quebec City

Petit Champlain, Quebec City

The Cooperative Mural, Quebed City

Chinatown, Toronto

The next two are no longer. In the first, the building has been torn down, and in the second, renovations along the wall have removed the panel and mural.

This building was on Oldham Road, Manchester, UK

This was on a panel in the wall around and beneath the Grand Parade square in Halifax, along Barrington Street next to City Hall.

See more over at A Word in Your Ear.

DP Weekly Challenge – Room

When you travel, you see a lot of rooms, hotel rooms in particular. But that makes for a less interesting post unless it’s a particularly spectactular hotel room. While I’ve stayed in some nice rooms, none would have been called spectacular. WordPress Daily Post wants to see posts about rooms and there’s a lot of ways to do that but as this is a travel blog, I delve into my photo stash.

My most recent holiday to the UK in April included a day trip to Chatsworth House, the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire (Cavendish family). There are a  lot of jaw dropping rooms there and they begin as soon as you enter. This is the grand Painted Hall, the first place you arrive after you pay your entrance fee.  The mural on the ceiling is an allegorical depiction of the ascension of Julius Caesar by Luigi Laguerre who painted scenes from Caesar’s life on the walls as well.

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

I read an interesting story about this “grand” staircase pictured below. There was a more graceful curving “horseshoe” staircase but the son of the well known Georgiana (Duchess of Devonshire in the late 18th -early 19th century, they made a movie about her starring Keira Knightly) tore it down and built an ugly set of stairs made of wood. (He was the sixth Duke, holding the title through much of the early to mid 19th century) The wife of the 9th Duke later tore it down in 1918  and built this one in the interests of trying to beautify the hall again.

Chatsworth Painted Hall

Chatsworth Painted Hall

There’s more information about the hall here.

WordPress Weekly Challenge – A Work of Art

WordPress’s weekly challenge is A Work of Art. Art is very subjective. Everyone likes something different. What is art for one person isn’t for another. Sometimes interpretation of what art is can be mystifying but the same piece for someone else makes perfect sense.

I do like to visit galleries, museums and exhibits and I don’t always agree that it’s “art” but I don’t begrudge someone else loving what I think is rubbish. Here’s both sides of the coin for me.

From a classic, in the Sistine Chapel, artist Michaelangelo Buonarotti. Photo shot from the hip. Yes, I know. Photography in the chapel is not permitted but it’s so hard to resist. No flash, existing light, a bit of help from photoshop.

The Sistine Chapel

To “What????” This and another identical post were in an installation in the Guggenheim gallery in New York. Modern art mystifies me. I don’t get it.

Chatsworth House

Following on my previous post as we head deeper into the Peak District National Park, we arrived at Chatsworth House, nestled against the River Derwent, about noon. They’re about 10 minutes or so from the town of Bakewell. Chatsworth is the seat of the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire. The current Duke is the 12th in the line. There’s quite a lot of history about the family and the house, both on Wikipedia and on the website for Chatsworth itself so I won’t go into it a whole lot.

The estate as a whole covers over 100 acres and there is actually quite a lot to visit if you were to spend the whole day here. You can walk around the extensive gardens and trails where you will see various out buildings, statues and fountains. You can visit their working farm and see some animals, mainly geared towards children. The old stables buildings have a restaurant and shops in them and there’s a little shuttle that will take you up the little hill to it if you want but it’s not far and not steep.

The house, of course, is the jewel in the crown. There are various prices for entry, depending on what you are going to see. The house alone without the farm or charity gift donation is 18 pounds for an adult which is not that expensive compared to other similar attractions. It’s 12 pounds to just visit the gardens and 6 to just visit the farmyard. They also let you take photos for your own use.

The Painted Hall, Chatsworth

We arrived at midday, as I said, and the parking lot was very full so we had to park quite a bit away from the house. Never mind, we walked over to the house, passed through a pretty courtyard and entered to the ticket area. That done, we went up a few steps and turned into the Painted Hall, the very impressive entry area. It really is impressive, with every inch of the ceilings and much of the walls covered in murals and paintings. The floor is black and white checked tiles and the hall is ringed with antique furniture, sculpture and artifacts. You could probably spend a half hour just looking at everything there.

There’s a route you follow through the public rooms, about 25 or 30 out of a couple hundred, most of which are the private rooms for the family.

Another highlight on the ground floor is the elaborate chapel with a high white carved altar piece. The ceiling in here is painted as well. We come back around  to the Painted Hall then go up the big staircase to a landing, also with painted ceilings and also some more lovely statues and artwork. There are also come cases with old swords and pistols here. It’s a good vantage point for photos into the Painted Hall as well. Up some more stairs to the upper floor of the house.

The beautiful music room, Chatsworth

Here you have the state rooms, including an elaborate Baroque music room and a state bedroom with a tall canopied bed and walls lined with paintings. The music room is filled with silver and gold pieces and very fancy marble tables. At the very back, behind a slightly opened door, is another well known sight. It looks as if there’s a violin hanging on the wall behind the door, but in fact, it’s fake. It’s a tromp d’oeil painting. There are portraits of various members of the generations of Cavendishes scattered around the rooms and hallways and there’s another smaller room lined with Old Masters paintings and sketches including a large portrait painted by Rembrandt.

The house is filled with art and sculpture and antiques. There’s a model of the house in a glass case in the Oak Room, next to (I think) the chapel, so called because it’s lined in oak panelling and carving. Also in here, bracing the fireplace, are two long narwhal tusks which is one of the more unusual finds in the house. In one room there was a portrait of Henry VIII, which we didn’t expect! There’s so much to look at and the guides or curators in most of the rooms are really good. They know their stuff, about the family and the house and volunteer information if they see you curious about something and very willingly answer any questions you have. There are little information cards in most of the rooms but the guides are even better and filling in details.

Even the corridors are lined with things to look at or have good views out over the gardens and courtyards. There are some rooms you can’t go right into and can only look from the end or they are partly roped off, such as the bedrooms and the library which looks like it would be a fascinating place to delve into if you could get in there. I would imagine the priceless rare books make that impossible. The light in the library is also kept low but there are lamps lit on the tables. There’s an ante-library as well because one of the dukes, the 6th I believe, was such a book collector that he overflowed his library. There are apparently over 17,000 books. Just past the library and ante-library is the state dining room with it’s long table set with china, and lots and lots of silver!

The last room you go through on the route is the sculpture gallery and that leads to the inevitable gift shop, housed in what was the orangery. There used to be a huge glass conservatory in the gardens but that was torn down in the early 20th century as it was too difficult and costly to maintain. Another interesting fact was that the house was used as a girls’ school during World War II and there were several displays about that on as well.

The cascade was built around 1700 as a series of steps where the water from fountains at the top would flow. The house was built in 1703.

We took well over an hour to walk through the house looking at everything and taking photos. After, we got a drink at an outdoor take out stand and sat in the sun for a rest. We didn’t feel up to traipsing around too much of the garden but walked down past the end of the house and up near the Cascade fountain to have a look. We decided not to go up to the Stables since we’d already had a cuppa and thought, as we were getting hungry, we might as well head off. We had a country pub to go to and a beautiful big late lunch to enjoy.

The Royal Oak is an award winning pub between Buxton and Bakewell and not too far from Chatsworth. They have some rooms and camping facilities and though are a little off the beaten track, it is well worth making the drive. The atmosphere is very friendly. There are several small rooms, with open fires and copper artifacts on the stone walls. They have a very good beer selection including a really tasty Bakewell best Bitter and a cloudy cider on tap called Rosie the Pig!

Their menu has lots to pick from and includes traditional pub grub and excellent up to day items as well. The special we were offered was guinea fowl with savoy cabbage and leek mashed potatoes with red wine gravy. Too tempting to pass up for me though G. decided on a mixed grill which came on a large platter filled with various types of meat and lovely homemade chips.  The food was hot and absolutely mouth watering. Well deserved for the awards they’ve won and I told them, too!

Full and satisfied, we finally headed back to Salford after a long and very enjoyable day.

New York birthday memories

A few weeks ago, I posted a few cartoons that my fella does for me as my annual birthday card. Often they are based on where we’d traveled in the previous year. This year’s card was based on our trip to New York City last May. One of the things he really was looking forward to was going up to the top of the Empire State Building, and mentioned several times King Kong. Now, See, I would have been more romantic, with thoughts of Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember.

I expected the cartoon to have some sort of NYC theme but I didn’t expect this:

Birthday-2014sm

You can also see that I have a camera in my hand, which is pretty typical of me. No matter what’s going on, I’ll be likely to take a photo before running off to safety! He joked “Oh, let’s go to New York, she said. It’ll be nice this time of year, she said. The view from the top of the Empire State Building would be great, she said”

He wanted to make sure the cartoon looked authentic so looked around the net for photos of the building in the 1930s when the original King Kong movie was made and wanted the Chrysler building in it as well so you knew for sure it was NYC. Utterly brilliant!

Travel Theme: Romance

Given that we’ve sailed through Valentine’s Day, Where’s My Backpack has a travel theme of Romance this week. I had to think how I would relate this to travel. We do go to some romantic locations like Paris and Rome and we really enjoy exploring new places and making new memories. Our road trip to Cornwall was brilliant and we were going to do a road trip to Scotland last year but it got side lined.

What’s really romantic, though, is that my fella is an artist and for my birthday every year, he draws me a cariacature/cartoon and often it features our travel location from that past year.

Here’s a few of them:

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And the other romantic thing that he does is write and record me a song every year for Christmas. You can hear the “Lurve” album here.  Some of those mention travel and flights because ours is a long distance relationship.

The Book of Kells for free

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Home of the Book of Kells

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Home of the Book of Kells

A few days ago I posted an entry to a photo challenge about Illumination. I posted a photo of a medieval copy of the Canterbury Tales, which was illuminated. There was a bit of discussion about the Book of Kells, the famous illuminated gospel at Trinity College, Dublin. Lo and behold, today I see a link to the college’s blog and they now have the whole book of Kells online, digitally scanned using the latest technology.

You can see it through this link. Each page is zoomable so you can see the exquisite detail. If you never get the chance to go to Dublin to see the real thing, this is the next best thing. Heck, even if you have seen it, this is pretty awesome since when you see the book, it’s opened to one spread of pages and you don’t get to see the rest of it unless you come on a different day and hope they’ve changed the view. Most excellent!

What I particularly like is that you see the thumbnails down the left so you can scroll to the pages that have more design on them and then zoom in to see the beautiful detail work. Next best thing to being there!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Statues, Carvings and Sculptures

Cee’s challenge this week features statues and sculptures. If you like museums like we do, you see a lot of artwork. Statues are littered all over big cities. There are tributes, public art, modern and classical statues, as well as all matter of hand made art. Not all of the modern art and sculpture makes sense to me but everyone has different taste. Sometimes a piece will strike you and stay with you, like Michaelangelo’s Pieta did for me many years ago.

Here are photos of a few I’ve seen over the years that pleased my eye.

Seen in Manhattan

Detail on the Trevi Fountain, Rome

Napoleon, reflecting the painting behind. Musee des Beaux Arts, Montreal

Sculpture by Rodin Musee des Beaux Arts, Montreal

This next sculpture was taken at the gardens at the Trentham Estate near Stoke in England. This represents the shape of a 50 pence coin and was a gift from the Bank of England in thanks for the estate housing the London Clearing banks during World War II.

50p sculpture Trentham Estate, England

And finally a local statue outside the Halifax Central Library. Good old Winston Churchill strides across the lawns with a fierce expression on his face (did he ever have any other kind?)

Winston Churchill Halifax, Nova Scotia